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Shutter Island movie poster

Shutter Island: Movie Review

Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams
Released by: Paramount Pictures

In Short: Leonardo DiCaprio does it again as he carries this Scorsese-helmed, Hitchcock-like psychological thriller through its lengthy, and sometimes slow-moving, plot.

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Scorsese and DiCaprio Work Their Magic—Again

After hits like "Gangs of New York," "The Aviator" and " The Departed," we’ve come to expect big things when Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio work together. The dynamic duo succeeds again with "Shutter Island," the film noir-style, ode-to-Hitchcock mystery based on Dennis Lehane’s best-selling thriller.

The story takes place in 1954 when U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are called in to investigate the disappearance of a multiple murderess at a fortress-like mental institution on the remote Shutter Island. As Daniels uncovers the dark secrets of the hospital, he begins to question whom he can trust, while the mysteries multiply.

Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island Ben Kingsley and Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island

Although the main focus is on heavy-hitter DiCaprio as he performs one of the more complex roles of his career, the other actors are able to pull their weight through a somewhat sluggish plot with grace. Following DiCaprio is Sir Ben Kingsley, a powerhouse who brings much more to the table than the rest of the cast, including Ruffalo, who nevertheless gives a decent performance as the sidekick.

Amidst a series of scare tactics used to increase tension, Scorsese sometimes loses the audience in the nearly two-and-a-half hour venture. We admit that at some points, we found ourselves paying more attention to our watch than the screen. But even though the stop-and-go progression is sometimes exhausting, it is worth the trek. Scorsese successfully builds the suspense and tension necessary for the movie to work and, fortunately, has DiCaprio by his side to execute a much-needed strong performance. When the two come together again for another film, we will surely be in line to see what they come up with next.

Reviewed by Alain Gayot

(Updated: 02/22/10 CT)

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